Social Development Minister Shane Simpson watches a demonstration of voice-to-text equipment at a WorkBC employment office, November 2018. (B.C. government)

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is close to 50 per cent, and B.C. needs them as much as they want to work, the president of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce says.

Val Litwin spoke Monday at an announcement by the B.C. government on its plan to help people with disabilities find jobs, in an economy with a million job openings ahead and a labour shortage already being felt.

Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said more than 900,000 B.C. residents aged 15 and older have some form of disability, nearly one in four people. Simpson has toured the province seeking input from them on new accessibility measures, and “almost without exception they talked about how they wanted to have a job.”

The ministry opened a public consultation Monday on the subject, to inform new B.C. legislation being developed for next year. Community groups, libraries and other organizations can apply for $2,000 grants to host discussion forums, and an online input page will be available until Nov. 29.

RELATED: Resource centre helps disabled Victorians find jobs

RELATED: WorkBC program helps single parents get work

The province has already equipped its WorkBC offices with adaptive technology such as voice input equipment and alternative keyboards, so more people can search and apply for jobs.

The provincial legislation is to build on the Accessible Canada Act, passed this spring in Ottawa to cover areas of federal jurisdiction. Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec have moved ahead with their own complementary legislation.

“Integrating accessibility into every area of life is central to creating livable communities, including workplaces, buildings, neighbourhoods and businesses,” Simpson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Smithers woman killed in Oct. 16 car crash

A memorial will be held for Rain Reeves on Oct. 29 at Smithers Golf and Country Club

Fire on Main Street guts an apartment

Blaze leaves five homeless but no one was seriously injured

Smithers golfer competes in university golf nationals

Mitchell Turko shot a final round 73 to finish tied for 24th

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

Smithers fighter wins bronze at karate worlds

Lando Ball narrowly missed a chance to fight in the gold medal match in Austria

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Most Read